IT is feared an eight-week closure of West Worthing railway crossing could have a devastating effect on the surrounding businesses.
Firms have been left dismayed at being given just two weeks’ notice of the essential £90,000 West Sussex County Council project to replace the traffic lights at the junction of South Street and Tarring Road, Tarring.
Work will start on Tuesday (May 8), when vehicles will be directed out of the area via Poulter’s Lane and towards Broadwater, while access will be maintained for pedestrians and emergency services.
Louise Westbrook, of Sticky Drawers furniture store in South Street, believed it would have a significant effect. She said: “This will be devastating for us as a lot of our business is through passing trade, but we will just have to ride the storm.
“We’ve been here since last July and people really like our store. We have a light removal company as well and If we had been given more notice then we could have bought less stock in.”
Dan Shannon, of Shannon’s butchers, also in South Street, added: “This is something that has to be done, but it is not great for trade. When the lights have broken down before, it has created havoc around here.”
Adding his concerns, Anthony Gunter, of Guitars and Vintage Toys in Tarring Road, said: “This is an absolute nuisance. The council just came round with a piece of paper just over a week ago about it, but they haven’t consulted with businesses. They could have given us more notice. I think there will undoubtedly be trade losses.”
Bob Smytherman, Liberal Democrat councillor for Tarring ward, added: “I am seriously concerned for smaller businesses round here as they will lose trade as a result of this closure.
“The county council should have given us more notice on this, especially as the bus companies and other services were told months ago. This is just not acceptable. We have some good companies round here and they need to be supported.”
Project manager Stephen Found, of West Sussex County Council, said firms had been given a statutory two-week notice of the works, while public services had also been informed several months ago regarding the works.
He said: “We do have sympathy with businesses, but there really is no other way of doing this.
“The cables for these lights straddle the railway line and are now around 40 years old. They need replacing and we are at the point that if any more cables break, then it could take even longer to repair.
“We are hoping we can complete the work in less than eight weeks.”
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